Fowling Might Give Cornhole a Run for Its Money

A new-to-town entertainment option mixes bowling, football, and cornhole.
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Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

What’s fowling (foe-ling, rhymes with bowling) and how did it make its way to Cincinnati? It’s part football, part bowling (hence the name), with hints of cornhole, beer pong, and horseshoes. Chris Hutt accidentally invented the game with his buddies while tailgating the 2001 Indianapolis 500. The objective: Knockdown—by throwing a football—10 bowling pins set up on a wooden platform 48 feet away before your opponents can do the same. Hutt eventually opened two Fowling Warehouse locations in Michigan, where the game gained a loyal following.

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

Seven years ago, the concept came to Cincinnati, when Loveland-based Joe Frank learned about fowling from his neighbor, who went to high school with Hutt. Intrigued, Frank hosted a Friday night league and annual tournaments in his yard. In May, Frank and four friends opened the first franchised Fowling Warehouse in Oakley. “We just felt like this game fits in the culture here,” Frank says. The 47,000-square-foot space features 30 fowling “lanes,” two bars, and a mystery beer machine. It’s 21-and-over except from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. “Anyone can play,” Frank says. “I saw an 80-year-old’s birthday party [at the Hamtramck location]. It’s all ages—men, women, kids, everyone.”

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